Recently I have been asked numerous questions about maintaining friendships with guys while also staying true to your faith. This area is always seen in either a black or white light, however, it does not need to be. In today’s society, it is more common to be a part of a group that consists of both females and males. With this many difficult and awkward situations can evolve whether the guys are muslims or not. Here are some scenarios that you may find yourself in and a few tips on how to handle them in a way that is both graceful and Islamically correct.
An Awkward Pair
You have been planning on meeting at the local restaurant for a get together and you seem to be earlier than all your friends. It also just so happens that Omar, another friend, is also early. What to do? Well for one thing, never panic, because it only leads to unnecessary awkwardness. Simply engage in casual conversation at the waiting area until your friends finally arrive. If the hostess offers to seat you, politely ask for some time so that the rest of the party can arrive. This way, you and Omar are not sitting at a table alone where suspicious eyes may spot you. Also, according to etiquette, one must wait until at least half of the party has arrived before getting seated. So it’s a win-win.
This may not be an issue (hopefully) with Muslim guy friends; however it is quite popular with other cases. After procrastinating that research paper for your Literature Theory class, you are in a fight against time to get it done. What better place to do so than at the library? Walking in, you barely make it ten feet before your name is called. You soon realize Joshua, the guys who sits behind you in Chemistry wants to say hello. It’s like slow motion- his arms opening, his body growing closer and closer to you. What do you do? For one thing, there is a much more efficient method than instantly going into ninja-mode and pushing him away. Simply, put your hand out, insinuating your request for a handshake. Sure, it’s a little awkward, but at the same time you show him that you respect him and still want to maintain a friendship. The good thing is, after one encounter like this one, it is most probable that the guy will just go for the handshake the next time. Another method is more straight forward. When Josh goes in for the hug, you can tell him the truth- “I’m sorry, it’s against my religion to hug guys, but it’s great to see you!”- This way, you are still being friendly, but are laying down the boundary.
Plans for Two?—Or Three..
That chemistry test is getting closer and closer! Luckily, a few of your friends are taking the same class with you. Again, let’s stick with Omar. Thinking two heads are better than one, Omar asks you if you would like to go to the library for a study session. There are many ways to go with this. Depending on your comfort level, you can agree to go with Omar. However, you must ensure that it is a public place with many others around. As always there is another route you can take. Agree to Omar’s request and subtly invite another friend who happens to also be in Chemistry– “Sure! Sounds great. I’ll ask Fatima if she’s up for it as well!” -Who knows, maybe it will turn into a big study group instead of just you two! This way, you have not offended Omar and get a chance to improve your grade!
A main thing you must remember is that it is never good to inhibit yourself from making friends. Having guy friends can be beneficial for they are completely different and can give you a new perspective about a few things. As long as you stay true to yourself and Islam, a friendship with a guy can be a very successful one based on respect and mutual understanding. Remember: it should never be black or white. Hopefully these tips above help you girls out! If anyone needs a few more pointers feel free to go to the advice column and I’ll be more than happy to help!